Since our neighbours, Belgium and Germany, are so close, more and more students are choosing to live there and commute to Maastricht for their classes. The rental prices are often lower on the Belgian/German borders compared to the prices in the city of Maastricht, and it’s so close that some students cycle between the countries every day (the border is a ten-minute drive away!). Since so many students live in Belgium/Germany but attend university in Maastricht, many of them get a part-time job in Maastricht while living in a different country, which can cause some confusion. Living in Belgium/Germany and working in Maastricht means there are certain rules you have to adhere to. In this article, we hope to lift any fog around this!
If you work in the Netherlands and live in another country, you are still obliged to pay income tax (inkomstenbelasting) to the Dutch government. As is the case with anyone working in the Netherlands, you will also have to take out Dutch public health insurance.
Because you will live in another country, you don’t need to register with the municipality of Maastricht, you will need to register with the Register of Non-Residents (RNI) to get a citizen service number (BSN). This BSN is mandatory for anyone working in the Netherlands as it is required to receive obligatory health insurance.
To get a BSN number, you must register with a municipality. However, you cannot register with just any municipality; you must register with one of the 19 municipalities offering the RNI service. Unfortunately, the Maastricht municipality does not issue these, so you will have to go to the Heerlen municipality instead. You can fill in the registration form and book an appointment with the municipality of Heerlen from here. After your appointment, where you will hand in all of the required documents (such as a birth certificate, a proof of address and your ID), you will receive a BSN number, which functions in the same way as a BSN for those who live in the Netherlands.
Remember, when taking a job with a Dutch employer, it is mandatory to have Dutch public health insurance. From our insurance page, you can read all about how to get insurance and how to apply for the health insurance subsidy to get some money back if you are not earning above the threshold (most students aren’t).
Taxes when living in Germany but working in the Netherlands
If you live in Germany but work in the Netherlands, you must organise your taxes in both countries. However, due to a double taxation agreement between the two countries, you will only need to pay tax on your salary from the Netherlands. If more than 90% of your income is from the Netherlands, you are eligible to file for tax returns in the Netherlands in the same way as those who work and live in the Netherlands (qualified foreign tax liability).
Taxes when living in Belgium but working in the Netherlands or living in the Netherlands but working in Belgium
If you live in Belgium but work in the Netherlands, or vice versa, these governments want to make your life easier. There is a tax treaty between Belgium and the Netherlands. The treaty between the two countries has been made to ensure that those working across the border are not double-taxed. The general rule of thumb is that you must pay taxes to the country where you work. However, you may have to file a tax return in both countries. There are some exceptions to the rule where you only pay taxes to the country you work in. These can be found on the government website here.
Health insurance and health insurance subsidy
As mentioned previously, health insurance is mandatory if you are working for a Dutch employer. However, cross-border workers are also eligible for the health insurance subsidy (zorgtoeslag) with the same terms as those who live in the Netherlands. The subsidy amount is the same. You can apply for the health insurance subsidy with your RNI number. More information about this on the government website (in Dutch).